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Author profiles can help scholars increase their visibility, help them connect with others, or keep track of their publication statistics.  There is a handful of sites that are providing profile options for scholars at a global level e.g. ORCID, LinkedIn, Academia, ResearchGate, Mendeley, Google Scholar, VIVO, etc.  However, author profiles at the institutional level are still a work in progress.  For instance, DSpace doesn’t have a profile module yet, although the work that @mire did for the World Bank could help with that development.

This week, as Miami University Libraries joins the 2015 International Open Access Week celebration, we are also launching a homegrown solution for author profiles in our Scholarly Commons institutional repository -which looks something like this:

This solution involved 4 major steps:

Modifying login and sidebar options: we modified the login options for authenticated users and customized the sidebar boxes in order to provide a clean (less confusing) interface; the new login options include links to actions like: start a submission, view pending/archived submissions, edit profile.  Most of this work required modifying two theme files: navigation.xsl and page-structure.xsl

Adding profile data in a separate DB: from DSpace users need to login into the profile system using LDAP, which allowed us to pre-populate certain fields e.g. name, title, contact information, etc.; new fields include: research interest and top social and scholarly networking sites like Google Scholar, Research Gate, Twitter, LinkedIn, About Me, and ORCID … and of course an option for uploading a photo.  For this section, we re-used an existing module that runs on PHP and MySQL.

Embedding profile on collection’s page: when someone saves his/her profile, a script checks if there is already a collection associated with that person, if not, then a new collection is created; either way, an ID is added to one of the collection metadata fields in DSpace, which then is used to find/embed an <iframe> with the profile data.  This was probably the most challenging part of the work, in part because we had to learn/use some RESP API commands –which also meant using https and a special port … and some jQuery lines.

Updating author’s collection permissions: a major limitation we found with DSpace’s REST API is that it does not yet support user administration operations (e.g. creating admin groups for new collections); thus, for now when new users save their profile for the very first time, a text file (with the e-person ID and DSpace handle) is generated and a Macro Express script is triggered, which then creates the proper admin_group for the new collection.

Last but not least, other changes we implemented this week are: updated and added custom labels for the stats module, implemented an input-form that includes a citation field and a simplified Creative Commons license option, as well as cover pages for PDFs.

Happy Open Access Week!